Rotary treats kids to early Christmas presents

Travis M. Whitehead/Valley Morning Star Juanita Stringfield, a member of the Rotary Club of Harlingen, helps a young girl pick out clothes at Target.

HARLINGEN — “That is the cutest thing!”

Juanita Stringfield, a member of the Rotary Club of Harlingen, was helping Priscilla pick out clothes at the Club’s annual Christmas shopping event at Target.

Priscilla, an elementary school student, tried on the shiny gold jacket with the words, “Future Queen.” It was a perfect fit, and she kept it on as the two continued exploring the aisles for more clothes.

Priscilla was one of 25 children who’d received $100 gift cards from the Club, said Joel Vincent, club president.

“ We bring in underprivileged kids that can’t afford the basics like clothes,” he said. “They get to shop for some of these necessities.”

He said the kids could also pick out a few extras for themselves, like toys, after picking out their clothes. For Joseph, 11, it was first things first.

“ First I went to get shorts, and then I went to get shirts, and then I went to get socks,” he said matter-of-factly.

“ I liked it,” he said.

The Club holds the event each year.

“ It’s always fun,” Vincent said. “Some of these kids never had a new pair of pants.”

The kids had been selected by the Harlingen school district and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen.

“ We have 10 that were chosen,” said Alma Dones of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

“ Around this time, the holidays, it’s very important,” she said. “It’s Christmas, so it’s going to be extra special for those that receive this blessing.”

Parents appreciated the gesture.

“ It’s a big help from the community,” said Mike Hernandez, whose 14-year-old son Jose was out shopping.

“ He’s very happy the school is doing something like that for the kids,” he said.

Soon Jose was outside the store with bags full of clothes, a Nerf gun, and a big smile on his face.